Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Voki, OK!

Voki, Oki, Oki, Oy! When the producers of Voki discovered this name, they were on to something engaging. The web application is cool, the name is cool and the ways you can use it are cool. Voki is very cool.

My first experience with Voki was on a profile page of one of my Classroom 2.0 colleagues, Jonelle. I was smitten. The realistic avatars, backgrounds and presentation box were so appealing that I had to find out about Voki.

Students are also enticed by Voki, even mature, sophisticates (young adults) have engaged Voki. They use it to tell about themselves, to share information about their school and to practice their online, interactive skills in a protected environment.

Since Voki is a widget, a web application, it stands alone. While you do sign up for Voki, you don't have to interact within a community to benefit from this application. I have seen Voki avatars in a variety of online places, including profiles, blogs, wikis and webspaces. Any of these places can provide students a protected environment where they can experiment and develop educational online experiences.

One aspect of Voki that can be interactive is the comment section of the Voki box, so students can respond to a Voki presentation, just as they might comment on a blog. While commenting or making their first Voki, students don't have to use their own voices. Voki has a text to talk mechanism with a choice of several accents and voices of both genders. I use the Kate voice who has a slight British accent, and I consider it most effective.

Earlier, I wrote a blogpost explaining how to accomplish a action research based evaluation of Voki, as used by students called, "Welcome to My Web!", Said the Spider to the Fly, included Voki and Weather Widget in a blogpost. The purpose of this first post included evaluating web based, online applications, so I reviewed Voki as soon as I started using it.

Recently, I decided to make another review of Voki, because I believe this widget has met critical mass among those teachers using online, web applications with their students. In one day, I found Voki on the majority of the new websites, blogs and wikis that I visited among a group of teachers planning an online educational conference. That is above and beyond all of my colleagues on various educational networks who are using Voki extensively.

Documenting this rise in the use of Voki, I made several searches, some were general search engines and the social bookmarking network, favored by teachers, If there are other networks or search engines that I could use in the future, please let me know;D Here are some of the results:

* There were a total of 139 SEPARATE bookmarks for VOKI. Within those bookmarks, more than 5,000 users had also selected this combination of 139 bookmarks.

* A total of 33,000 website references contained this search string: Voki, education, school. Amazing!

* More than 40,000 urls contained the same three tags: Voki, education, school. There are thousands more because I noticed that all tags of Voki in Classroom 2.0 were clustered in one search result, so that is probably the same situation in all the educational network searches.

* A Facebook analysis and developer services has many compare/contrast analyses. This one is comparing Voki to Meez.

References to Voki can be found in Digg and, so it seems the point is proven that Voki has reached critical mass for educational use around the world. Have fun and learn with Voki;D

BTW: I find it very exciting to see the expression of the promise of a particular widget that I know has great educational potential. There are specific educational activities and projects that Voki can enable or enhance, and that is a blogpost all in itself.


murch said...

I love vokis too. Our students use their vokis to introduce them to classes who we collaborate with in other countries.The code is embedded in a table which is shared via a wiki. Each school states 5 questions they would like to know about each other, and the students answer them with their voki. From there, we continue to share eg travelogue movies, podcasts etc. The accents and answers give a feel for the different cultures and personalities. Will love to watch how you continue to use them.

samccoy said...

Anne: You and your wiki teaching partner have accomplished so much.

Teaching with Voki in the classroom provides powerful learning opportunities for your students and the other classes who join yours.
I want to tell about your work and the developing project based learning activities with students in other schools.

I would appreciate it greatly, if you would add a link to your wiki or any blogposts you have made at the end of this posting.

Anonymous said...

Nice read. I just passed this onto a colleague who was doing a little research on that. He just bought me lunch because I found it for him! Therefore let me rephrase: Thanx for lunch!

Anonymous said...

Outstanding read, I just passed this onto a colleague who was doing a little investigation on that.

Anonymous said...

Great write-up, bookmarked this website so with any luck,I will see more on this subject matter in the future!

Anonymous said...

Hmmm very interesting:)

Anonymous said...

Keep working ,fantastic job!